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Bird watchers flock to Snettisham as snowy owl makes ‘extremely rare’ visit to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 17:14 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:29 12 March 2018

A photo of the snowy owl taken on Scolt Head Island on March 9, 2018. Photo: Baz Scampion

A photo of the snowy owl taken on Scolt Head Island on March 9, 2018. Photo: Baz Scampion

Archant

A snowy owl has made an “extremely rare” visit to Norfolk this weekend - thousands of miles away from its usual feeding ground.

A snowy owl has made a rare visit to Norfok this weekend. Picture: Matthew Usher. A snowy owl has made a rare visit to Norfok this weekend. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A snowy owl made an “extremely rare” visit to Norfolk over the weekend - thousands of miles away from its usual feeding ground.

The birds usually live in the far north around the Arctic circle and rarely venture south of northern Scotland.

But the RSPB has today confirmed a female snowy owl - made famous as Harry Potter’s owl, Hedwig - has been spotted at Snettisham in West Norfolk.

The charity said hundreds of bird watchers gathered at the reserve, as well as at Titchwell Marsh to catch a glimpse.

A spokesman for the RSPB said: “These strikingly white birds are more commonly found in the high Arctic tundra rather than the coastal regions of Britain.

“During winter months they can migrate southwards looking for food sources and it’s possible that this bird came from Scandinavia or even as far away as Canada with the recent snap of cold weather.”

Unlike other species of owl, snowy owls are active during daylight hours and may be seen gliding low over ground looking for small mammals such as voles or event rabbits.

The birds are content to sit still for long periods of time, either on a low perch or boulder, making them ideal for wildlife fans.

The news of the snowy owl’s arrival was broadcast through the birding community and within hours, people started to arrive from all over Norfolk and beyond, the RSPB said.

Graham Minster, from Swindon, Wiltshire, left home at 4am to drive the 170 miles to see the bird. He said: “I never imagined I would see a snowy owl in person. She is a beautiful bird and worth every minute it took me to get here.”

A member of staff at the Snettisham nature reserve said: “They [the snowy owl] are extremely rare visitors here.”

• Do you have pictures of the snowy owl? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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